What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

World’s Smallest Butterfly
Location: Hawthorne, CA
November 7, 2011 11:27 pm
I was able to identify this tiny guy (about the size of a bottle fly) out at Bugguide today and thought I’d share it with you. It sat for about fifteen minutes feeding on the Bishops Flowers in the back yard. Such a little beauty. I’ve read it is the world’s smallest butterfly.
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Western Pygmy Blue

Hi Anna,
Your photos of a Western Pygmy Blue,
Brephidium exilis, are quite lovely.  Thanks so much for supplying our site with this new species and a statistic as well.  According to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin:  “This is one of the world’s smallest butterflies;  the wing expanse of even the largest individuals barely exceeds 1/2 inch (13 mm). … The Pygmy Blue is seen mainly in wild areas, especially where the salt-loving food plants grow – in alkaline valleys and flats, in coastal salt marshes, and along beach bluffs.”  Jeffrey Glassberg, in his book Butterflies Through Binoculars The West, writes:  “The smallest butterfly in North America.”  According to BugGuide, the Western Pygmy Blue is ” The smallest butterfly in our area.”  We are not certain where your smallest butterfly in the world statistic came from.

Western Pygmy Blue

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for the compliment.  I read about it being the smallest in the world in a few places, none of them specialists in butterflies.  I used that subject title because I was sure it would catch your eye!

Ed. Note:  We wonder how it was determined that the Western Pygmy Blue is the smallest butterfly in North America.  Was it an average?  or perhaps, was it the smallest individual documented?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: California

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